Mention Gilbert Stuart and up floats the chalky blue image of the unfinished washington portrait, whiskey-cheeked, bland-eyed, something of a realtor at heart. Yet, evident too are quite wonderful strength and imagination behind the ""official"" Georgian gifts of Stuart's best portraiture. Stuart's later reputation, however, was much maligned when art connoisseurs detected that his most famous full-length portrait of Washington was not from life but from a French portrait. Biographer Mount suggests that this story accounts for our ""profound ignorance"" of Stuart, and he is incredulous that critics don't know that it was part of the technique of Georgian painters to copy the masters wherever they desired and that the masters themselves were great copiers from each other. However this may be, he has done well by Stuart, unearthed much new material and drawn an engaging picture of him as an intellectual. Stuart's activities among the famed Continental painters, who sharpened his native eye for cash, and with Washington, make fascinating pages, and his later descent into neglect, illness and loss of eyesight is quite moving.